Conn. Attorney General joins multistate brief in transgender ban court case

The Connecticut State Capitol building in Hartford, Connecticut. (Michelle Lee/Creative Commons)

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen has joined 13 other states and the District of Columbia in a brief opposing the Trump Administration’s plan to ban transgender individuals from military service, according to an Oct. 16 press release from the attorney general’s office.

Led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, other states whose attorneys general are joining the brief include California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia in addition to Connecticut.

“The Amici States share a strong interest in the readiness and effectiveness of our national defense, including an interest in ensuring that our Armed Forces and related institutions recruit, train, retain and promote qualified service members,” the brief said. “The Amici States also strongly support the rights of transgender people to live with dignity, to be free from discrimination, and to participate fully and equally in all aspects of civic life. These interests are all best served by allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military.”

In the brief, the attorneys general argue that, since adopting open service policies, "There is no evidence that it has disrupted military readiness, operational effectiveness or morale. To the contrary, anecdotal accounts indicate that the positive impacts of inclusion were beginning to manifest, as capable well-qualified individuals who were already serving were able to do so authentically.”

The case, Doe v. Trump, was brought by LGBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders and the National Center for Lesbian Rights on behalf of five transgender service members and argues that banning transgender individuals from serving in the military is unconstitutional, against the interest of national defense and harmful to the transgender community, according to the release.

Students at the University of Connecticut have also voiced their concerns about this policy.

“Gender identity should, in no way, disqualify them from serving our country and doing it to the best of their abilities, just like every other service member,” one student said. “If these people are willing to join the military and defend our country, why should we stop them?”

State legislators have also taken issue with this policy, leading to a filing of this brief, Jepsen said.

"Transgender men and women who want to serve should be afforded the same opportunities to do so as any other American, and those who are already serving deserve our respect and our gratitude for their service," Jepsen said. "I strongly support the rights of transgender people to live free of discrimination, which has no place in our society. I am very proud to join with my colleagues in other states to oppose this unconstitutional ban and to support the transgender community from this and any other attack on their rights and dignity as citizens of our country."

The attorney general said that states, including Connecticut, have enacted and enforce civil rights protections for transgender individuals. He said that discriminatory prohibitions on participation in civic life, impose significant harm to state residents.


Andrew Miano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at andrew.miano@uconn.edu.